A picture book is often the perfect gift for almost any age reader. Some picture books make us laugh, others touch our hearts. Some are entertaining while others inform us. Here are some recent picture books that are perfect to consider as gifts for this holiday season.
J. C. Cervantes is the talented author who has written the first book in a trilogy about Mayan gods and the kid who is the child of one of them. It’s Rick Riordan’s “Lightning Thief” taken south to Mexico (and New Mexico). In “The Storm Runner,” Zane Obispo, who limps because one leg is shorter than the other, discovers that he is godborn, the child of one of the Mayan gods. In fact, that explains his leg because as one character tells him, humans and the gods don’t mix perfectly.
If you’ve never read an “Andy Carpenter Mystery” by David Rosenfelt, “Rescued” is certainly a fine place to start — because this entry, the seventeenth in the series, is just as entertaining, suspenseful, and laugh-out-loud funny as all the earlier sixteen.
Rosenfelt’s dry and self-effacing sense of humor is, as usual, on display on virtually every page of “Rescued.” This time, the wealthy, super-bright, and self-confessed rather lazy lawyer, Andy Carpenter, is persuaded to defend an ex-cop who’s been accused of murder. The ex-cop is also the ex-lover of Andy’s wife Laurie, who is herself an expert investigator.
“The Case of Finders Keepers” by Sheila Turnage will keep fans of Mo LoBeau thrilled at the details that are unveiled about Mo’s Upstream Mother and Blackbeard’s treasure that they seek in this fourth book.
Moses, so named because she was found after a hurricane swept her into the arms of her rescuer on a huge wave of water and a large sign, has been writing to and searching for her Upstream Mother for a while. She writes to her, but luckily, Mo has the love of Miss Lana and the Colonel which whom she lives. They run a café where Mo serves and impudently garners big tips.
There are always romance novels with imaginative titles, but this year, the word “Duke” graces the covers of many. From an illegitimate duke to a modern Scot sword-maker duke, the choices are astounding. Here are nine of them for your reading enjoyment.
“The Illegitimate Duke” by Sophie Barnes is the newest in her “Diamonds in the Rough” series. It features a do-gooder, Lady Juliette Matthews, who wants to use her newly acquired fortune to help those less fortunate, and Florian Lowell, a physician, who is suddenly made heir to a duke. There is the mutual attraction, to be sure, but also a compelling reason why they can’t be together…or can they?
“The Third Mushroom” by Jennifer L. Holm is the perfect sequel to “The Fourteenth Goldfish.” In this book, Ellie is in middle school and has a best friend, Raj. When her grandfather, Melvin, comes to stay with them in the body of a fourteen year old (that’s what happens in the first book), things get interesting.
With “Lifel1k3,” author Jay Kristoff takes readers on a wild ride in a bleak (so very bleak!) dystopian future where atomic bombs have destroyed much of the Yousay (USA, get it?) and California has become a barren island because of a huge earthquake. The ocean is filled with plastic and other garbage, and animals and trees are nonexistent.
In fact, robots and humans coexist in a depressing world with gray skies and a desperate struggle for survival. In this world lives Evie, with her grandfather, her best friend Lemon, and her robot best friend Cricket. This family group is wonderful, but Grandpa is dying from cancer, so Evie fights robots in an arena to win money to buy him medicine.
Shhh. Don’t tell the kids, but when they start reading and laughing out loud at the humor in the “Action Presidents #1: George Washington” and “Action Presidents #2: Abraham Lincoln,” they will be learning a bunch of history at the same time. Real history — history presented in a graphic novel format that’s humor-filled and easy-to-understand.
Tamora Pierce’s fans are legion. But if you haven’t read one of this master of fantasy’s many books, this is the perfect time to start and the perfect book to start with: “Tempests and Slaughter.” It’s the first book in a new series, and it’s a prequel to some of the other books about the Tortall universe.
As with all of Pierce’s books, the characters feel quite authentic, and each of the three main characters is unique. Each one demonstrates very human weaknesses and strengths. Pierce is fabulous at hinting at events to come through characters’ actions and dialogue — just subtle hints at deeper character traits.
Fans of “Jack: The (Fairly) True Tale of Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Rumpelstiltskin,” and “Red: The (Fairly) True Tale of Red Riding Hood” will adore the latest fractured fairy tale about “Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” by Liesl Shurtliff.
Every book in “The Trials of Apollo,” the ongoing series by brilliant writer Rick Riordan, seems better than the last. “The Trials of Apollo” differs from the other Riordan demigod adventure series that have captivated middle grade, young adult, and adult readers since the first one, “The Lightning Thief.”
“Endling: The Last” by Katherine Applegate has a title that contains an oxymoron: it’s the first book in a series about the last creature of its species. But the book is so much more than a story about extinction and the last creature of a species. It’s a story that is compelling, brutally honest, touching, and filled with non-stop action. The characters are all beautifully created and likeable, and readers will feel as if they have become a part of the dangerous adventure that these characters have embarked on.